I was absolutely struck by this recent piece by Sarah Tuttle-Singer about teaching our children to fight back — within reason. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the rules of parent and personhood: be nice. Try again. Make friends. Share.
Sometimes, even though those rules are still very important, being nice isn’t the appropriate response:
I watch your eyes glow when the kids in preschool want to play with you. I see how it matters to you what they say and how they smile.
I watch your bottom lip tremble when someone hurts your feelings.
And I watch you on the playground — your face flushed, and your breath staggered as you chase the child that was mean to you. I know you, and I know you are blaming yourself for their bad behavior.
I know you are trying to get a second chance at friendships not worth having.
You are so much like me that it takes my breath away.
Please. Don’t be this way.
Don’t be dependent on how others treat you. You are strong, and brave, and wonderful, and kind.
Stand up for yourself.
Fight back if you have to.
I learned all of this by living it. And I don’t want you to learn like this, because while I was lucky enough to walk away with my two legs and my body intact, we shouldn’t tempt fate.
I didn’t plan on telling you this. But I see how similar we are — I see your softness, your kindness. I see how you forgive so easily — too easily — when someone is mean to you.
Head over to Kveller to read the rest.